Therapist's Corner

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Theresa McCarty OsterYou can look forward to monthly updates here at the blog written by
Theresa (Tess) McCarty-Oster OTR/L, our Occupational Therapist.

Join her here for book reviews, ideas for activities, and just interesting news
about therapy for adults with autism and/or developmental disabilities.

  • Holiday Season Count Down 2016

    Dec 06, 2016

    Holiday Season Count Down 2016

    In this busy rushing season it is easy to get caught up in all the excitement.  Going from one party to the next and having extensive shopping days.   Enjoying extra family functions with relatives from near and far.  While it’s hard for us to keep up, I cannot begin to imagine how it might feel for sensory sensitive people.  For many of these people when they are overwhelmed they will shut down or explode.  So this is a good time to talk about strategies that might help.  Most of these ideas are good for all of us.

    1 Prioritize; think about what you absolutely want to include in your Christmas holidays, then think about your special needs family member and identify the pits falls for them . Once you have done that try to develop a plan that will support them and let you enjoy the holiday too.

    2 Consider sensory input; Think about all the sensory input that you have at home; and then consider this for the relative, mall, Santa, and restaurant visits.  During the busy holiday season all our senses are heightened, we smell fresh pine, mulled cider, cinnamon, and cookies.  We see twinkling lights, bright blue lights, and trees everywhere.  We hear music everywhere we go with an overlay of loud excited voices, bells ringing, and doors opening and shutting, and elevators going up and down.  While we might find all of this fun and exciting it may overwhelm you family member who has a sensory disorder.

    3 Be prepared; Think of the activities or favorite fidget that will help your family member relax and/or stay focused.  Make sure you are prepared to support your family member by readily having their favorite item or something novel that may catch their attention.

    4 Be proactive;  Before you go to a family functions or an event call ahead and check out possibilities that may support your family memberCheck to see if you can bring items in or to someone’s house.   Check to see if there is some way to have dedicated space for your family member where they can go to relax or regroup.

    This is a very simple guideline, but truly if you use this as a templet I believe it will circumvent some of the common pit falls of the holiday season.  Let’s get creative and expand on the above items.  If you have an idea for #1 tell us what it is etc.… I’ll get us started.

    #1 I think we can cut out Aunt Jane’s party on New Year’s day; we will see her on Christmas eve so that’s one less party and transition for my someone special.

    #2 I know the noise is always a problem so we will bring the noise cancellation headphones, and his music and headphones. Also a lap buddy (weighted stuffed animal) to hold onto.

    #4 I’m going to call mom and ask her if we could set up a quiet room in the back bedroom.  In this way there is always a place to regroup.  For our family dinner out I’ll call and ask the restaurant for a table in the corner in the back where there is less traffic.

    Please join in you might have something that works at your house that would help someone else!

    Have Merry and Bright Holiday Season!



  • What’s new in OT?

    Oct 20, 2014

    Well I’m glad you asked.  We are always working toward new programs and activities, but now we will have a new focus on our department.  Did you know that we really have two hats to wear at COH? One is to support our staff and participants who are attending the Day Training program; the other is to have a clinic that evaluates treats and supports (community) patients in the clinic.  These patients can come from COH or the community. We are focusing on the outpatient portion as it is critical to the funding of our department, giving us means to be reimbursed and continue O.T. at Center of Hope. This will allow us to remain as an active support for our staff and participants at COH. Currently we are working with a company and talking with our Intersect partners about Medicaid reimbursement.  Once that is up and running (soon we hope) we will devote a good part of the day towards outpatient therapy.  Another big change is the workshops we will be offering to the community.  We have always had some workshops each year, but next year we will be focusing on individualizing workshops for school districts (and anyone else) at their request.   The fees from the workshops will support our OT department.   We are hoping that the community might begin to see COH as the “go to” place for adults with therapy needs.  Help us spread the word! If you have an idea of how we could let others know about this service let us know! If you want your child to receive individual OT services please contact our OT department (815) 964-9275 x233.